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Phytomedicine. 2014 Feb 15;21(3):268-76. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.09.020. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

An overview on traditional uses and pharmacological profile of Acorus calamus Linn. (Sweet flag) and other Acorus species.

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DST-FIST and UGC-SAP Sponsored School of Life Sciences, SRTM University, Nanded 431-606, MS, India.
Prabhu Ayurvedic Clinic, Nanded 431-606, MS, India.
DST-FIST and UGC-SAP Sponsored School of Life Sciences, SRTM University, Nanded 431-606, MS, India. Electronic address:


Acorus calamus (Sweet flag) has a long history of use and has numerous traditional and ethnomedicinal applications. Since ancient times, it has been used in various systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Chinese medicine, etc. for the treatment of various aliments like nervous disorders, appetite loss, bronchitis, chest pain, colic, cramps, diarrhea, digestive disorders, flatulence, gas, indigestion, rheumatism, sedative, cough, fever, bronchitis, inflammation, depression, tumors, hemorrhoids, skin diseases, numbness, general debility and vascular disorders. Various therapeutic potentials of this plant have been attributed to its rhizome. A number of active constituents from leaves, rhizomes and essential oils of A. calamus have been isolated and characterized. Of the constituents, alpha and beta-asarone are the predominant bioactive components. Various pharmacological activities of A. calamus rhizome such as sedative, CNS depressant, anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, cardiovascular, hypolipidemic, immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory, cryoprotective, antioxidant, antidiarrheal, antimicrobial, anticancer and antidiabetic has been reported. Genotoxicity and mutagenecity of beta and alpha-asarone is reported, which limits their use at high dosage. Though A. calamus has been used since ancient times, many of its uses are yet to be scientifically validated. In the present review an attempt has been made to explore traditional uses and pharmacological properties of A. calamus.


Acorus calamus; Pharmacological properties; Sweet flag

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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